“One day as He (Jesus) was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for Him to heal the sick.” Luke 5:17 (NIV)
One of the most painful things to admit is that you need help, that you need God to make a change in your life that you can’t do on your own. The greatest miracle of all is life change! But where do you find such faith to believe that God can change your life? The Bible reveals that such miracles are still possible today! In fact, God delights in intervening in our world in awe-inspiring ways that can transform our lives and turn our prayer life into a passionate relationship with God as we trust Him to take divine action in our lives! Such was the case for a paralytic that Dr. Luke tells us about in his gospel. The miracle in his life was both spiritual and physical! It provides us with an understanding of how God works and uses miracles as Divine signs to point us to Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of the world, validating His claims to Deity and His message of redemption!
Luke was a physician and carefully records what happened. It’s interesting to note that he even documents the presence of the Pharisees and teachers of the law as being present when the miracle occurred. They were the skeptics in the crowd. These official religious leaders from Jerusalem were present to investigate what Jesus was teaching and doing. The Old Testament law had given them that responsibility to prevent false prophets from leading the people astray.
In addition to these heresy hunters, the house was full of seekers eager to listen to Jesus. As He taught them, Luke adds this fascinating comment, “…. And the power of the Lord was present for Him to heal the sick.” in verse 17. When the power of the Lord is present, miracles happen! While Jesus was speaking, some men went up on the roof and began to lower a paralytic friend on a mat right in front of Jesus. Luke tells us what happened,
“When Jesus saw their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’” Luke 5:20 (NIV)
Immediately the Pharisees and teachers of the law protested,
“Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Vs. 21)
They were correct. Only God could forgive the man’s sin. Only God could heal the man’s paralysis. The problem was that they never made the connection that Jesus was God. Jesus told the man to get up and walk, using this physical manifestation to demonstrate that He had authority to forgive sins! Jesus changed this man’s life forever!
There’s no record that the miracle was credited to this man’s faith. In fact, Luke tells us,
“When Jesus saw their faith…”
Whose faith? The faith of the man’s friends that risk everything to bring him to Jesus. They simply believed that if they could get their friend before Jesus he would be made whole! His life would be changed. We find the faith to believe the impossible when we put our trust in Jesus. He alone is God! He alone has the authority and power to change our lives. And He’s still doing it today!